Though it wasn’t raining in Tampa as Super Bowl XLI kicked off, it was pouring inside the Holly G residence apartments on Sunday.According to Tom Kane, the director of Residence Services, a pipe leading to Holly G’s rooftop hot-water heater burst at about 5 p.m.
“A four-inch galvanized piece of pipe just popped a hole in it,” he said. “We don’t know why, it’s only 5 years old.”
Holly G resident Joicelynne Jackson said she noticed the leak around 6 p.m. while watching the Super Bowl.
“The guys across the hall were like, ‘Do you guys realize that it’s not raining outside but it sounds like it’s raining,'” she said. “Then we all walked upstairs to the fourth floor. And on the fourth floor, right in front of the elevators, there was tons of water just splashing down from the ceiling. Then eventually, (part of) the ceiling sort of caved in and fell to the floor.”
Jackson also expressed concern over the lack of communication between resident assistants and residents. She said that although repeated attempts were made to contact RAs, she was unable to reach anyone in a position of authority.
“We went to our RA’s room and the RA wasn’t present, so then someone paged them,” Jackson said. “Still no response, so my friends went to Holly M, and they said they were unable to send someone right away.”According to Kane, the RAs were the first people to respond to the leak.
“We know that our RAs were actually on the scene before our custodians got there,” Kane said. “(They) were already there with Shop-Vacs doing some work. They were there before any of our maintenance people were there, dealing with the problem.”
Danielle Daniels, a sophomore majoring in women’s studies and a Holly G resident, didn’t notice the flooding until a fire alarm went off, leaving her out in the cold.
“I was actually flat-ironing my hair, but I was going to watch the Super Bowl,” she said. “It was cold last night and obviously we had to leave, and I was kind of in just shorts and a T-shirt.”
The accident not only flooded all four levels of Holly G, but also disabled the building’s hot-water heater, leaving the residents of Holly G without hot water.Daniels said residents were forced to improvise when the tap water turned brown Sunday night.
“Because of the brown water, brushing my teeth was a little difficult,” she said. “We had to use bottled water.”
According to Kane, Holly G’s water heater was repaired Monday morning, and full hot water was restored that afternoon. Cleaning crews worked through the night, and the only traces left in the afternoon were missing ceiling tiles.